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Ex-airman of Valdosta enters guilty plea to crimes against minors

Plea entered Tuesday
Court
Posted at 8:21 PM, Apr 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-27 20:21:10-04

ALBANY, Ga. (WTXL) — A former United States Air Force servicemember pleaded guilty to crimes against children Tuesday.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s United States Attorney’s Office Middle District of Georgia, Ricardo Garcia, age 25 of Valdosta, Georgia, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Louis Sands.

Garcia was previously stationed at Moody Air Force Base in Lowndes County, Georgia.

Garcia is facing a maximum of 20 years in prison followed by five years to lifetime of supervised release and a maximum $250,000 fine for each offense.

After serving time in federal prison, Garcia will have to register as a sex offender.

According to court documents and evidence submitted in court, the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) via the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force in August 2020.

The tip revealed Dropbox, Inc. captured an upload of two child pornography videos, which an investigation ultimately revealed belonged to Garcia.

A search warrant was executed at Garcia’s Valdosta, Georgia, apartment on Sept. 11, 2020, and a number of electronic devices were seized.

A forensic investigation found Garcia’s Dropbox contained approximately 15,000 images and 40 videos of sexual assault material involving minors.

The news release notes Garcia admitted to possession of the materials.

Sentencing for Garcia is scheduled for July 26.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSI) with assistance from and the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, GBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Semales is prosecuting the case.